By Michael Hodges – Nation D License Coach, CYSA GK License, D7/CYSA Coaching Instructor
During this time of the year, we reflect on goals we set for the previous year or years past and set new goals. I would like everyone to consider taking a different approach when setting goals for the New Year.
From a coach’s perspective, setting goals that are not based on the results of matches is better for players and ourselves. Get players to challenge themselves as individuals and as a team, and listen to players talk about those challenges. Listen to understand the goals and not to just respond to them. If you, as a coach, can learn that in working with your players, it will go a long way in developing their communications skills on and off the field, as well as your own. But more important, it will get players to believe they are more than just players, they are valuable future adults.
As a coach, if you set this as a long-term goal, you can elicit support from other members of the team: the parents. You can communicate the challenges you want to set for the players, based on their responses towards you as coach. You can encourage the parents to encourage their kids to communicate with the coach, because you all have one thing in common: the best intentions for the child. Empower your players to be effective communicators by showing them you are there to talk to them, not down at them. You can be a better coach over a long season if players and parents understand why you do what you do.
As a coach remember this: It should be fun for everybody. That includes you, the players and their parents. If you feel you are getting burnt out as a coach, revitalize by going back to the beginning. I have coached kids for 20 years, from U8s to high school. I have had the privilege of coaching players who have played in college, and it is wonderful to see them passing the sport on to the next generation.
To be honest, I recently believed it might be time to embrace new challenges, so I went back to the beginning. I coached U8 girls this past fall, and they kept me on my toes. They also made it fun for me to go to practice. I employed goals with my players and their parents, and I believe we had a wonderful season. At the end of the fall season, they wanted to continue doing homework: daily foot skills for 30 minutes. I almost teared at the awards presentation, something I haven’t done in almost 10 years.
I became reenergized because of them, and I thank them for that experience. Most important, I can’t wait to hear what their next goals are, so we can work on them together. I was told by someone that they thought that was a good way to reflect on a season. I responded by saying, “I fill out the same goals sheet as the kids.”
In working on resolutions for this year and beyond, try employing these thoughts in determining goals, individually and as a team: Reflect, re-energize and reload…
Success isn’t about a win/loss record; it’s about the difference you make in people’s lives.
National D License Coach
CYSA GK License
D7/ CYSA Coaching Instructor
25+ years coaching “with the scars to back it up” … PROUDLY